June Monthly Message from Mayor Stacey Ewald

June 25, 2024

I’m pleased to announce the Township is now the proud owner of the beautiful 17-acre parcel at 422 Southern Blvd, commonly known as the Fenske property. This acquisition has been a long time in the works. While there’s been some bumps along the way, thankfully, through patience and persistence, we were able to see this through and close on the purchase on Friday. It is a win for open space and for our community.

Our Open Space Committee has had an interest in acquiring this property for nearly a decade, given the environmental sensitivity of the land and the proximity to the Great Swamp. The parcel is next to Nash Field and, while the primary goal is to protect and preserve the wetlands and natural habitat abutting the Great Swamp, the Township will also explore access from Nash Field to a small lot in the interior for use by our recreation programs.

I’d like to thank the Open Space Committee, their Chair Joe Basralian, the Trust for Public Land, and the Morris County Open Space Trust for their work in securing the grant that’s funding nearly half the $750,000 cost of the property. I’d like to thank our Administrator, Township Engineer, Attorneys and Township staff for staying the course and doing all they could to bring this to a close. Finally, I’d like to thank the Fenske family. As many know, Helen Fenske was instrumental in protecting the Great Swamp from the development of an airport. While the Helen Fenske Center in Basking Ridge honors her contributions to our area, it seems appropriate that her family and the Township honor her work by protecting and preserving this land.

There are a few items on the agenda this evening that I want to highlight. First, we have two ordinances related to the 2024 capital plan, ordinances 2024-14 and 2024-15. $4 million of the capital plan is related to public safety including the acquisition of two firetrucks to replace trucks that are past their useful life, the acquisition of fire safety equipment and the acquisition of police vehicles. As our Administrator explained at our last meeting, these ordinances provide the authorization to incur the related debt which allows the Township to engage in the equipment purchase contracts. Debt will only be incurred if and when it’s needed. The Township will still pursue grant and other funding where feasible.

Also, on the agenda is resolution 2024-16 Authorizing a Deed of Historic Preservation Easement. This is in connection with the grant funding the Chatham Township Historical Society secured for the improvements at the Red Brick Schoolhouse. If you pass there as often as I do, you had an opportunity to watch as the deteriorating exterior was restored. The end result is amazing to see. I want to thank the members of the Historical Society Board and especially the Wells sisters, Pat and Martha, for all their work securing the grant and planning for the restoration.

The last agenda item I wanted to mention is Resolution 2024-154 Designating TD Bank as our Depository. It’s been a goal of our Administrator’s for some time now to review our banking relationship and to maximize returns on our funds while expanding the servicing that’s critical to maintaining the Township accounts. This reappointment of TD Bank as our Depository accomplishes both, expanding the services we receive while also increasing the yield on our bank balances. Thank you to our Administrator, CFO, and our Finance Committee for all your work on this effort.

Lastly, we’ve heard from residents recently regarding the Fairmount Avenue improvements. While I’ve heard from many folks who are pleased with the changes, there are certainly some who were surprised by the scope of the work and who have indicated concerns related to traffic flow and safety. This project has been in the works for a couple of years now and has gone through the normal public meeting approval process, public hearings and notification of residents. The project is focused on ensuring ADA compliance for crosswalks and enhancing pedestrian and traffic safety by improving visibility and sightlines. Our Administrator, Engineer, Police Dept, and Township Committees (past and present) were all involved in the planning and the project has been reviewed by the County and the State Department of Transportation. The project is fully funded by NJDOT grant money. If there are any questions or if anyone is interested in seeing the public presentation, please feel free to reach out to me or our Township Administrator.

Mayor Stacey Ewald (sewald@chathamtownship.org)
Township Administrator Ziad Shehady (administrator@chathamtownship.org)

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our new website for the Township of Chatham in New Jersey! As we continue to build and enhance this online space, you may notice that some links and files are currently missing. We are working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that all information and resources are made available to you as soon as possible.


NOTICE:  The Chatham Township Municipal Building will close early, at 1:30 p.m. on Fridays beginning May 24th through August 30th.